It be the references we cherish most that murder us.
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Tom Blyth in “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.”
Credit: Courtesy of Lionsgate
Welcome to Fix It, our series inspecting film and TV tasks we cherish — assign for one tiny change we need we would manufacture.
The Hunger Video games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes ends with a foreboding promise.
We look as Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth) performs a victory tour of varieties, having accurate arrived aid in the Capitol from District 12. He secures a swanky recent gamemaker pickle with Dr. Volumnia Gaul (Viola Davis), poisons his enemy Dean Casca Highbottom (Peter Dinklage), and reclaims his family house. In the film’s closing moments, he gazes up at a radiant Capitol statue in probability, as if he is already sizing up the presidency of Panem.
In that one behold, the message is evident: Snow may perchance well also honest possess landed on high, but in doing so, he is change into the monster who will terrorize the districts for years to arrangement aid. It be a chilling reminder of what is subsequent for Panem, and an effective ending for The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.
After which the film goes and undermines all of that.
Because the screen fades to dusky, we hear a neatly-recognized enlighten speaking some acquainted phrases. Donald Sutherland, the fashioned President Snow, returns in voiceover, announcing, “It be the issues we cherish most that murder us.” Cue a wide thought roll from me.
There are several issues corrupt with this closing second, the first being that this voiceover simply just isn’t any longer wanted. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes spends its complete runtime centered on a young President Snow, so why snappy shoehorn in Sutherland’s version in the film’s closing seconds? Right here’s the model of behavior I may perchance well demand to search spherical in a trailer to tease who Snow will change into, but no longer from the theatrical liberate itself. And wager what? This quote does, without a doubt, stop out the film’s first trailer, making its inclusion here feel the total more redundant. (In line with an Entertainment Weekly interview with director Francis Lawrence, the order of the quote in the trailer led to him using it in the film.)
Rachel Zegler and Tom Blyth in “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.”
Credit: Murray Shut
The voiceover appears like a determined strive to remind us that The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes takes pickle in the the same world as The Hunger Video games, even supposing or no longer it’s not doubtless to focus on in every other case. Even whenever you occur to overlook the allege Hunger Video games and Capitol of it all, we’re serene following characters whose Hunger Video games futures everyone is aware of, like Coriolanus and his cousin Tigris (Hunter Schafer). We additionally be taught the origins of several franchise staples, just like the mockingjays and the “Striking Tree” song. Sure, some of the references lean toward awkward fan provider, like Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler) explaining what the plant katniss is. But even that doesn’t review to getting bludgeoned over the head by a quote lifted suddenly from Mockingjay: Phase I.
Scratch that, or no longer it just isn’t accurate the quote. It be the allege audio ripped from a scene between Katniss and Snow. That audio feels wildly out of pickle in the context of the relaxation of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, which is itself aesthetically certain from the opposite Hunger Video games motion pictures. Lawrence has crafted a retrofuturistic vision of Panem’s past that carries seeds of what this world will change into, but that can additionally stand on its maintain if wanted. Snow’s shock voiceover shatters that, forcing more connective tissue between the total Hunger Video games motion pictures that we simply did not need. Have about how underwhelming it would had been had Suzanne Collins changed the closing line of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes from “Snow lands on high” to “Snow lands on high… until Katniss Everdeen got here to knock him down.” That is steadily what’s happening here, only in movie make.
Even thematically, the inclusion is clunky. The quote, first and most critical about Katniss and Peeta, does talk to Coriolanus’ maintain in abominable health-fated like for Lucy Gray. He may perchance well also honest imagine that his like for her virtually destroyed him by getting him disgraced and exiled after the Hunger Video games. But if truth be told, or no longer it’s his decision to show on her and his honest correct friend Sejanus (Josh Andrés Rivera) that sends him down a darker route. He may perchance well also honest no longer imagine that path to be one of destruction, on condition that it offers him more energy, however the folk of Panem will maintain this potential that.
The object is, we salvage a steady figuring out of all of that from The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ closing moments — even without the voiceover! Up until Sutherland is available in, there is a steady sense of terror for what Snow’s future holds, and what ache he’ll wreak on the nation. But as quickly as we hear that quote, we’re left with a sinking feeling that The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes doesn’t belief us to plot connections between itself and the opposite Hunger Video games motion pictures. That, and now we had been played for nostalgia bait.
Belen Edwards is an Entertainment Reporter at Mashable. She covers motion pictures and TV with a spotlight on fantasy and science fiction, variations, animation, and more nerdy goodness.